Long Hot Summer
It takes a special lady to grace the cover of a magazine’s swimsuit issue, someone with oomph, nerve, chutzpah, and a magnetic personality that cuts through the eyeshadow and the blush. She should capture your attention by being interested in the same things you or I might like, and by being interesting herself. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a killer body and matching face either. Such a find is Leandra Vasquez, one of Guam’s model citizens. Her swimsuit figure and Angelina Jolie lips may be the first things you might notice, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find someone gifted with a great sense of purpose, a winning sense of humor and a love for life that’s positively infectious.
Photography by Niko Villegas | Styling by Patrick Galang
Makeup by Qua Mua | Hair by Kim Tiongzon
Who exactly is Leandra Vasquez? Could you introduce yourself to our readers and let them know who it is gracing the cover of Uno Issue 8?
I’m a 21 year old Chamorrita born and raised in Guam. I come from the beautiful south side village of Umatac. I’m happily married to the love of my life and have been married for two years now. “Normal” has never been a word that could be used to describe me. I’m quirky, fun, and oftentimes a goofball. I can be a tomboy at times. Jokingly, people consider me “one of the boys.”
How did you get started modeling? Was this your first major gig?
I guess my first modeling experience was back in 2007 for the Miss Guam Liberation Pageant when the winner wasn’t determined by the amount of raffle tickets sold. Although I didn’t win the title, I won Miss Photogenic and First Runner-Up. Later that year, I was contacted by Guam Bridal Guide to model some wedding dresses. After that, I didn’t pursue any type of modeling. It wasn’t until approximately seven months ago that I was contacted by Henri Oftana, a professional photographer well-known for his creative and exceptional work, requesting to do a photo shoot. I accepted his request with the sole purpose of having fun. After my shoot with Henri, I started to be contacted on a weekly basis by other local photographers asking to do photo shoots with me. In the month of May, I slowed down on the photo shoots and focused my time and energy on school and work. The following month, I was contacted by Nate Denight, Editor-in-Chief of Uno, offering me the cover shoot for Issue 8. So yes, this was the first major gig I have ever done and I’m so happy and thankful that I was given the opportunity to do it! 0
Could you describe your experience shooting the cover in Manila? What was the best thing about it? What was the most challenging thing about it?
Wow, the experience in Manila was amazing! The best thing about it was experiencing modeling at a whole other level. The challenging part was trying to read the creative director’s mind. I was nervous and at times I thought I wasn’t doing a very good job. But all in all I kept my head up and did my thing and modeled my butt off!
What else were you able to do while you were there? What places were you able to visit?
My husband and I shopped, shopped, and shopped some more! We literally shopped until we dropped (lol). We were able to visit the Mall of Asia, Greenhills, Greenbelt, Glorietta, and so much more. The best part about it was the taxi rides in Manila. I literally thought I was going to die about 53 times, no joke! To make matters worse, there were no seatbelts in the car! Although that was a nerve-wracking experience, it was still a lot of fun.
Did you have a good time at the PXC fight?
We had an awesome time at the PXC fight. We enjoyed rooting for our local boys throwing it down in the cage. Though there were a few people cheering for Guam, I think we were the loudest ones here.
Back on Guam, what are you busy with? What’s a day like in the life of Leandra Vasquez?
Currently, I’m a full-time student at the University of Guam and I usually hit my books hard with homework and studying. After school, I take up my other job as a Domestic Science Engineer a.k.a. Housewife, haha! To finish my day off, I go to the gym to get my fitness on when I’m not swamped with homework. However, on the weekends, you can find me down south kicking it with my family and friends after church. I pretty much live a happy and simple life.
I understand that you’re taking up nursing? How do you juggle that with your other activities?
Because of the extensive studying and work that is required for the nursing program, sometimes I have to turn down invites to parties, hangouts and stuff like that. I really have to make the extra effort to time manage my schedule, but it’s okay because all this will pay off in the end.
You’ve been married to Alan for two years and he seems like a great guy. How’d you guys meet?
It’s actually funny and corny how we met! We met on August 1, 2008 in Andersen Air Force Base. My family was camping that day down at Terague Beach when my friend and I decided to run an errand at GuamCell on the main base. As we were walking to GuamCell, I noticed a handsome looking guy noticing me noticing him, haha. We exchanged smiles and after we walked past each other, we both took a second look and caught each other noticing each other once again! Shortly after, my friend and I walked out of GuamCell, and again Alan and I see each other. However, this time he gathered up the courage to say something to me.
I was expecting an introduction from him or a cheesy pick up line, but instead his exact words were, “Excuse me, ma’am, how old are you?” I giggled and blushed like a little girl and replied, “Eighteeeeen!” I asked why he wanted to know my age and he just wanted to be sure that I was an adult. I don’t blame him for asking my age because I looked really young at the time!
Six months later, with my parents’ blessing, he proposed to me, and six months after he proposed to me, we married at Santa Teresita Catholic Church in Mangilao. That’s my love story!
He’s in the Air Force, right? How’s it like being a military wife?
I enjoy being a military wife because I like asking Alan about his day at work. He’s a cop in the Air Force, and I enjoy hearing about his day because there’s always something new and different The only downside of being a military wife is the possibility of Alan being away from me because of TDY’s or deployments. The love that we have for each other along with the love that we have for the Lord keeps me strong no matter what life throws at me.
Does he ever get jealous of your modeling? He seems to be quite the encouraging type.
Alan, even knowing that modeling would bring the extra attention, was and still is very supportive of me modeling because he knows that my loyalty is to him and him only. Plus, he enjoys the bragging rights!
Which models do you take inspiration from?
I’m inspired by the Victoria’s Secret Angels, but I have to say that my favourite would be Adriana Lima because she’s so darn sexy! She has this fierceness to her that is so alluring. I also take inspiration from Alyssa Miller. She’s such a well-rounded model and she reminds me of a model chameleon. She looks amazing no matter what type of shoot she does.
What things do you geek out on? What other things capture your interest?
Video games capture my interest. I love playing Call of Duty: Black Ops. I can kick my husband’s butt in Multiplayer! I also love to play Zombies on Black Ops. I already reserved a copy of Modern Warfare 3! I’m into web culture so I’m always visiting different blogs every day.
You’re in quite great shape. How do you keep yourself fit?
Thank you! I try to hit the gym at least three times a week. I do cardio alongside with weight-training and really try to eat a well-balanced meal, but chocolate and fiesta plates are so darn hard to resist! I really try to discipline myself to eat healthy because diet is the most important part of keeping me fit.
What sports do you follow and what sports do you enjoy yourself?
I’m not a sports junkie per se, but I do really enjoy watching MMA, whether it is PXC or UFC.
How do you see yourself, say, five years from now? What are the short and long term goals of Leandra Vasquez?
My short term goal is to finish my education and get my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Hmm, five years from now, I can see myself being an RN working in a hospital helping my patients receive the best medical care they deserve. I also see Alan and me adding to our family of 4 dogs with our first child!
Where do you find the strength to see you through until you achieve those goals?
Through the support of my husband, family, and especially the Lord is where I am drawing and will be drawing the strength to achieve my goals.
Any parting words of wisdom or invitation you’d like Uno’s readers to know?
Be optimistic about life because life is too short to worry about the little things. Don’t take yourself too seriously; learn to laugh at your mistakes and move forward. Try not to get sucked into the superficial things that society dictates because those things will never give you true happiness. Love life and cherish the people that matter the most to you.